Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby lordskylark » 2019-2-27 @ 10:34

So, from the information I was able to locate, the Warcraft II music should have been composed with an SC-88. However, I'm trying to match it up exactly with what I heard on the audio-CD recording of the game, and I cannot find what specific devise was used.

I've tried to play the midis which my SC-55 (original make), which sounds okay, but definitely not what was used.
I've listened to some recordings done with a SC-88 and SC-88Pro, and neither of those sound 100% correct either. (SC-88Pro was not even released yet, so it's definitely not that.) The bell sounds much higher pitched than the SC-88, for example and other instruments are not present.

I was wondering if it was recorded with the SC-88 in SC-55 map mode -- I cannot find a recording of that as of now.

The other possibility, is that the midis which Stafford provided were not the actual versions which were used for the recording of the audio Cd, but an earlier or later version which had some alterations in composition or velocities, etc.

Any help would be appreciated.

Andrew
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby Shponglefan » 2019-2-27 @ 18:05

Even if you have the original MIDI file used for the recording, settings on the individual sound module as well as subsequent mixing and mastering will also have an effect on the final recorded output. I wouldn't expect CD audio to be straight recordings from a stock MIDI module.
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby LunarG » 2019-2-27 @ 18:51

Shponglefan wrote:Even if you have the original MIDI file used for the recording, settings on the individual sound module as well as subsequent mixing and mastering will also have an effect on the final recorded output. I wouldn't expect CD audio to be straight recordings from a stock MIDI module.

Precisely this.
When they started doing "red book" (CD Digital Audio) music for games, they generally didn't record it straight off the outputs of a midi module. It would be more likely that they did multi-track recordings and mastered then professionally to make them sound as spectacular as possible. I remember reading about it back in the days, how games on CD-ROM would come with remastered music.
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby gerwin » 2019-2-27 @ 20:00

On the other hand: I know some remastered games that were put together by a poor or unmotivated crew of developers, compared to the original game. So that the customers are forever torn between the enhancements and the drawbacks in such a remaster. Midi music often got the worst of that.
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby lordskylark » 2019-2-27 @ 22:56

Shponglefan wrote:Even if you have the original MIDI file used for the recording, settings on the individual sound module as well as subsequent mixing and mastering will also have an effect on the final recorded output. I wouldn't expect CD audio to be straight recordings from a stock MIDI module.


It is possible. When listening to the SC-88 output it sounds very close, that one can tell that it was actually used for certain. The "bell" sound still sounds off though. I cannot find a recording of someone trying to play those midi files with an SC-88 in SC-55 map mode -- which someone suggested might be the correct playback method. I wanted to compare (or if there was another option). I don't think there are any other options. So it could be post enchancing.

There are the original "General Midi" files which the composer provided at one time.
There are also three versions of each track present in the file game data as XMI (which can be easily converted) for various soundcards. So, the CD audio could have been from one of those too...

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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby SirNickity » 2019-2-28 @ 19:18

I was messing around with MIDI during that time, so I can say (from that perspective) that a very likely possibility is something like this:

The SC series was one of the hottest things going at the time, so it probably served as the composer's main synth. But, perhaps he wasn't a huge fan of the bell patch. OTOH, there could have been a pretty good Sound Font for the AWE (which the game also supports -- ergo, they had access to them for programming and testing), and so the composer might have opted to use that instead.

No need to be concerned about relying on multiple sound modules when your output is a PCM stream. It'll sound the same everywhere.
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby SirNickity » 2019-3-06 @ 23:02

Not sure this adds any new info to the discussion, but I thought it was cool nonetheless. There's a MIDI archive of the Warcraft 2 soundtrack out there, apparently given to the Internet by one of Blizzard's sound guys. Here's the contents of the associated readme.txt file:

$ more readme.txt
Folks,

Attached are the OFFICIAL Warcraft 2 MIDI files in General MIDI
format. I saw that there were only two of the songs in the .zip file
on the "Game Music Homepage", and just wanted to make sure you had
access to them all, and that the ones you had were the original,
unmodified ones, straight from the source; the ones on the Game Music
page sounded kind of funny, and parts seemed to be missing. I got
your names from either the contact info on this homepage, or on the
"wish list" for MIDI files.
Enjoy the songs as much as you like, and feel free to distribute
them with this message attached, but please remember that the MIDI
files remain copywritten properties of Blizzard Entertainment and are
not to be sold, modified, reproduced, used for other purposes, etc.
As far as I'm concerned, the more people that get their hands on them,
the better; maybe they'll want to go out and buy the game!
Check out Diablo; Matt Uelmen at Blizzard North did a great job on
the music, and I helped out with voices and sound effects. Sorry, no
MIDI files though - it's all digital audio. Also keep an eye out for
Starcraft coming this spring/summer!

These MIDI files are best listened to on Roland or Yamaha General MIDI
compatible sound cards.

Regards,

Glenn Stafford, director of audio
Blizzard Entertainment
gstafford@blizzard.com
http:/www.blizzard.com
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby orcish75 » 2019-3-08 @ 09:46

My NEC XR385 (Yamaha DB60XG clone) sounds nearly identical to the Red Book Audio on the Warcraft II CD. The standalone midi files for WCII sound slightly different from the in-game General Midi option, even when played on the identical midi board.
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby yawetaG » 2019-3-09 @ 12:18

Use a software sequencer to record the in-game General MIDI MIDI data*, then compare the MIDI data to what's in the standalone MIDI files by opening them side-by-side in the sequencer.

* Which you would do by connecting the MIDI OUT on the computer with the game connected to the MIDI IN of the computer with the sequencer.
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Re: Warcraft II Music Soundcard

Postby lordskylark » 2019-3-15 @ 05:45

yawetaG wrote:Use a software sequencer to record the in-game General MIDI MIDI data*, then compare the MIDI data to what's in the standalone MIDI files by opening them side-by-side in the sequencer.

* Which you would do by connecting the MIDI OUT on the computer with the game connected to the MIDI IN of the computer with the sequencer.



Here is a complete collection of the midis.
Glenn Staffords distributed version, plus the 3 versions found in the game converted from XMI to MID.
I unfortunately do not have an SC-88 myself -- but I am trying to see what is the closest sound system to what was recorded on the CD-audio. The CD-audio is definitely good enough, but I'd like to record the "Introduction" track (as well as the unused Victory musics, even though they were leftovers from WC1) with the proper equipment, since there was no CD-audio version of it -- it was embedded into a SFX/narration ridden track.
Attachments
wc2midicollection.zip
(1007.65 KiB) Downloaded 1 time
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